Speeches

Speech by Mr Tim O’Malley TD at the launch of Health 4Life, a multidisciplinary research portfolio of the School of Nursing, DCU

Introduction

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am delighted to be here with you this morning at the launch of your Health 4 Life: a celebration of your research activity and strategy of the school of nursing at DCU. I would especially like to thank Professor Chris Stevenson for inviting me to this very important event.

Nurse Education

Education is one of the most powerful development engines at our disposal so clearly at a national level nurse and midwifery education must be a priority for all. The blueprint for the rejuvenation of nurse education was drafted back in 1998 by the Commission on Nursing which recommended the implementation of a Nursing Degree Programme to the Government. The Government expressed its wholehearted commitment to the programme, providing capital funding of over €240 million for the project, €26 million of which was pledged to Dublin City University. This funding was provided to ensure an optimum learning environment for nursing students in DCU through the provision of purpose-built facilities with state of the art clinical skills and human science laboratories. DCU’s School of ursing is itself a landmark as it was the first new, purpose built school of nursing in Ireland. Today it is the largest and most rapidly developing school of the Faculty of Sciences and Healthcare. From a staffing complement of 1 in 1995 the School of Nursing in DCU has today over 50 academic, research, technical and administrative staff and a student complement of over 1000.

It stands as a testament to the pioneering spirit of Dublin City University, a university which is always willing to take the lead for fresh thinking and educational innovation.

Nursing Education in Ireland has undergone a major transformation over the past 12 years progressing from an apprentice model to a diploma model and finally to a degree programme in 2002. The transition to degree level education for nurses and midwives will be completed this year with the commencement of the new undergraduate midwifery and integrated children’s /general nursing programmes. I would like to pay particular tribute today to all nurse teachers who have contributed in no small way to the expansion and development of nurse education.

Research

The research Strategy for Nursing and Midwifery in Ireland (2003) has provided the framework to allow nursing and midwife research to thrive and develop a cadre of nurse and midwife researchers. With a background of academic excellence, schools of nursing based in university and hospital settings are central to establishing a strong ethos in Irish nursing research. I am aware that the School of Nursing here at DCU is committed to maintaining research as a core activity and has a national and international reputation in nursing research. Having received two of the largest grants awarded for nursing research in Ireland, the School deserves special recognition for its research activity. The Department of Health &Children funded the Nursing Empowerment Research project which published its final report in 2003. Currently a €1million research programme funded by the Health Research Board, on Nursing Decision Making in Ireland, an integrated programme of research to maximize the effectiveness of clinical nursing resources has been awarded to a research team at the School of Nursing DCU and the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies UCD. I would like to pay special tribute to the team under the leadership of Professor Anne Scott DCU (Principal investigator) and Dr. Pearl Treacy UCD for this outstanding achievement.

School of Nursing Strategy 2004-2014

In Leading Practice: education, research and innovation the School of Nursing Strategy 2004-2014 highlights the importance of partnership between the university based schools of nursing and health service partners.

Education and health are now the two pillars upon which the profession of nursing rests. We must continue to build bridges to strengthen this partnership which I have every confidence will prove a long and fruitful one.

Dublin City University has a respected reputation for transcending traditional boundaries. The ethos of the university which underpins the fundamental principles of each faculty and department advocates a multidisciplinary approach to learning. Indeed I note from your website that DCU’s degree programmes were the first to be interdisciplinary in format.

Vast technological progress has been the hallmark of the twenty-first century and has affected massive social change both in this country and around the globe. Health care, and in particular nursing as an intrinsic part of health care, must transform itself in accordance with such social change and release the benefits of scientific and technological development.

In considering the appropriate future development of the Irish health care services, the Commission on Nursing was conscious that the health service of the future will require greater inter-disciplinary co-operation in the delivery of health care. We live in a rapidly changing world, one in which nursing can no longer rely on systems of the past to guide it through its future challenges. The launch of Health 4 Life today emphasizes the inter-disciplinary approach to developing a thriving research culture in the health services. Your conference programme highlights the existence, quality and growth potential of inter-professional and inter-organizational research across our Island. It is encouraging to see this display, whereby the knowledge and work of each discipline informs and progresses the other.

Conclusion

I would like to conclude by commending the work of the School of Nursing in DCU for role of the university in spearheading initiatives in research, educational and practice arenas. It has been a great privilege to speak at the launch this conference, Health 4 Life as a celebration of the evolving and vibrant research portfolio of the School of Nursing at DCU. I would like to wish you every success in your deliberations over the course of the next three days.